The Cruelty of National Sleep Awareness Week

Apparently, according to twitter (so possibly only in America), today marks the start of National Sleep Awareness Week. I’m pretty sure that the only people who feel that they need to be aware of sleep are people who aren’t getting any … So, it’s a little mean isn’t it? To have a whole week to rub it in your face that you’ve been tired since time began?! Anyway. It seemed a good time to talk about sleep.

Here are some things I have learned about sleep recently, forgive me for stating the obvious but all this is brand new information to me …

Some children will naturally want to sleep and will like sleep and others will need serious sleep training.

The Girl loves to sleep

The Girl loves to sleep

My 3 year old daughter loves sleeping. She’s just like me – it is her favourite thing to do. Apparently I have always had an afternoon nap – in fact, before I had children I used to finish work 3 hours before my husband and thought it was totally normal to pop home, have a sleep and then go and do whatever I was doing in the evenings. Napping is my favourite pastime probably. Joni loves going to bed at night and sleeps really well. She always has, really.

Wilbur on the other hand is fundamentally anti-sleep. He was one of those babies who didn’t sleep at night in the early days and if he was going to sleep it would be on me. Truth be told I loved this time, I wouldn’t change it – it was so special to be so close to my little boy for so many months. However, I was lured into a false sense of security by Joni. I presumed that Wilbur’s sleep would gradually and naturally improve and he would sleep like his sister. WRONG. SO. VERY. WRONG. Wilbur, at the grand old age of 17 months has still been waking 2,3,4 or 5 times a night. We, inspired by Outnumbered, now call him the werewolf. Look … How sweet …

Photo taken by Pappy - at Joni's birthday party

Photo taken by Pappy – at Joni’s birthday party

He had improved for a while where he would only briefly wake once in the night but somehow this degenerated. Something had to change.

Chris and I had got to the end of all our reserves of energy. My husband is brilliant – he does probably more than his fair share of night time wake ups (Wilbur settles well for him and not so well for me) but we were both exhausted. So Chris decided that something had to change. He decided to do some sleep training with Wilbur, much to my distress. I googled every possible article about how it is bad for the child but eventually I realised that how he was doing it was kind and gentle and necessary. He’s never left on his own to cry or anything but, being Wilbur, he does cry quite a lot anyway. It seems to be working. If this heralds the start of him sleeping better I think our lives will be transformed.

The other thing I have learned about sleep recently, or actually about wakefulness is that my diet makes a huge difference. I know: obvious. I have dieted on and off the last 10 years but I’ve never noticed such a significant change to my energy levels as I have recently. It seems that, as my Mum has always told me, wheat and me don’t really get on. Since I stopped eating it a while ago I have had mountains more energy and needed less naps. Boring but true.

So here is to better sleep! Please. Or more coffee.

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